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Subcutaneous Melodrama: The Work of Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Subcutaneous Melodrama: The Work of Eija-Liisa Ahtila SUBCUTANEOUS MELODRAMA The Work of Eija-Liisa Ahtila Jane Philbrick innish filmmaker and visual artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila is one of the most prominent practitioners of the vibrant Nordic art scene to emerge in the 1990s. Trained in art and film in her native Helsinki, as well as in London and Los Angeles, and currently completing her doctorate in fine arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Ahtila makes work that is smart in theory and practice. Smart, emotionally arresting, engaging, affective. A self-described “teller of human dramas,” she approaches narrative equipped with a rigorous arsenal of postmodern strategies ranging in scope from critiques of the global communications network and post-structuralist investigations of volatile subjectivity to feminist and postfeminist concerns with subject construction. One of her most potent tools, however, is a two-centuries-old dramatic genre of proven emotional reach and punch, melodrama. Historically disdained as “low” art and more recently, and exhaustively, interrogated by film theorists as a site and vehicle of feminine erasure, in terms of both representation and spectatorship, melodrama is a provocative and savvy narrative device for a contemporary (female) artist telling stories in the language of the cinema. Evolving as a byproduct of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art MIT Press

Subcutaneous Melodrama: The Work of Eija-Liisa Ahtila

PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art , Volume 25 (2) – May 1, 2003

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2003 Performing Arts Journal, Inc.
ISSN
1520-281X
eISSN
1537-9477
DOI
10.1162/152028103321781538
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

SUBCUTANEOUS MELODRAMA The Work of Eija-Liisa Ahtila Jane Philbrick innish filmmaker and visual artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila is one of the most prominent practitioners of the vibrant Nordic art scene to emerge in the 1990s. Trained in art and film in her native Helsinki, as well as in London and Los Angeles, and currently completing her doctorate in fine arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Ahtila makes work that is smart in theory and practice. Smart, emotionally arresting, engaging, affective. A self-described “teller of human dramas,” she approaches narrative equipped with a rigorous arsenal of postmodern strategies ranging in scope from critiques of the global communications network and post-structuralist investigations of volatile subjectivity to feminist and postfeminist concerns with subject construction. One of her most potent tools, however, is a two-centuries-old dramatic genre of proven emotional reach and punch, melodrama. Historically disdained as “low” art and more recently, and exhaustively, interrogated by film theorists as a site and vehicle of feminine erasure, in terms of both representation and spectatorship, melodrama is a provocative and savvy narrative device for a contemporary (female) artist telling stories in the language of the cinema. Evolving as a byproduct of the

Journal

PAJ: A Journal of Performance and ArtMIT Press

Published: May 1, 2003

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